Thursday, April 15, 2010

Burning of the Book - Jeremiah 36

Jeremiah 36:1 "And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah King of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying v2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee from the days of Josiah, even unto this day."

In this chapter, we get a good sense of what it was like back then. I will set the stage, so to speak:

Johoiakim is in the winterhouse warming by a fire.
Jeremiah is locked up in prison.
The princes are gathered together in the king's house.
Baruch is a scribe called by Jeremiah to take down the words.

v8 "And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD's house."

Another person, Michaiah heard the words and went to tell the princes who called for Baruch and told him to sit down and read the words to them.

v13 "Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people."

Upon hearing the words, the princes sent for Baruch to hear it first hand.

v15 "And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears."

The princes were afraid when they heard the words and decided the king needed to hear them. So they told Baruch to hide and to hide the book but some and speak the words to the king. They also told Jeremiah to hide but they must have had to take him out of the place where he was being held.

v19 "Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah, and let no man know where ye be."

v22 "Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month; and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him."

So now they are reading to the king from the book. It is Jehudi reading now.

v23 "And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth."

Then the sad words: v24 "Yet they were not afraid, ..."

Jehoiakim was twenty-five when he became king so he would be about twenty-eight or nine now. II Chronicles 36 tells about him. It tells us that Johoiakim was punished for this deed but the words of the book were preserved.

v32 "Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Johoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and there were added besides unto them many like words."

So the burning ended up increasing the size of the book.

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